Columban story 100 years in the making

Gilbert Alison with a copy of The Far East (The Catholic Leader)

The St Columbans Mission Society magazine The Far East is this week celebrating 100 years of publication. Source: The Catholic Leader.

One avid reader is former Queensland MP Gilbert Alison, 87, who likes nothing better than the comfort of his favourite leather chair, a morning coffee and the latest edition of The Far East.

Mr Alison has been a Columban donor for 60 years, which started when he bought his first Columban Art Calendar.

“I never fail to get inspired by what they do – these missionary men and women – and what they give up to go elsewhere,” Mr Alison, who lives at Tewantin on the Sunshine Coast, said.

“How do they do it – upheaval, moving to another country, learning another language to live amongst the people? And they don’t write much about their personal discomfort.”

Mr Alison’s fascination for the travels and challenges of Columban priests and lay missionaries has helped lay a foundation in his own life, including his political career.

Mr Alison recalls The Far East stories that have touched him – inspiring tales of Columbans establishing faith communities within the local church of countries where there is a gulf between rich and poor, dealing with inter-faith relations and seeking justice and dignity for those denied their rights.

“The Columban missionaries approach from a different angle. They are religious men and women living with people in the poor areas – that always amazes me – and in The Far East you are getting their viewpoint with an emphasis on the people they attend to.”


Columban missionaries’ 100-year-old magazine a lifelong inspiration for donor of 60 years (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader)

The Far East October 2020 (St Columbans Mission Society) 

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